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Grand Teton National Park Report

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Alpine environments are particularly sensitive to climate fluctuations and recent changes to their hydrological and ecological components have been documented in mountain ranges around the world. Paleoclimate reconstructions from these regions can improve our understanding of alpine climate change by placing recent observed changes in a long-term context and by improving our ability to accurately predict and model future changes. This research is designed to use lake sediments to reconstruct the glacier history and paleohydrology of the Teton Mountain ecosystem to provide a framework for characterizing the impacts of climate change occurring in Grand Teton National Park. Multiple physical and geochemical parameters contained in sediments from lakes strategically positioned along elevation transects will be used to develop the first continuous records of: 1) alpine glacier fluctuations, including the timing and character of deglaciation, and 2) coupled fire, vegetation and hydroclimate histories spanning the elevation gradient of the Tetons. This work is critical for assessing and managing the ecological impacts of future climate change in this unique ecosystem and for improving our understanding of how changes here are connected to the broader climate system.